Ecuadorian Shamans

Date: c. 2000
Owner: Amazanga School of Guayusa
Source Type: Images


The blending of indigenous medical practices with those of the modern West has become an important theme amongst people and organizations committed to improving the healthcare available in rural areas of developing countries. This exposition brought together herbalists and shamans from many Latin American countries as well as practitioners of ethnomedical techniques from throughout the world, such as acupuncture, vaporizations, and even tarot card readings.

International meetings that create dialogue among healers from different countries and traditions are becoming more common as many individuals from the first world are increasingly interested in learning how to practice indigenous medicine. This mutual exchange of ideas about healing was commonplace in the colonial era, when Europeans often sought out the advice of Indian curanderos on medicinal plants and Native Americans co-opted classical European ways of understanding the body, like the system of humors. With the self-conscious efforts of Latin American nations to modernize near the end of the nineteenth century, indigenous medicine became anathema, a symbol of backwardness that was actively suppressed. Only in recent decades, thanks in part to expositions such as this, have indigenous and bio-medicines once more begun to find a middle ground.

CITATION: Ecuadorian shamans Don Rafael Santi and Donna Lucilla Vargas. Image copyright Amazanga School of Guayusa.